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Regularly scheduled brake maintenance is important to keep your brakes functioning properly and efficiently. More often, though, is the case that people overlook the vital inspection and/or replacement of the brake fluid in their system. Keeping your brake fluid in your system fresh is the most effective method in ensuring your brakes are functioning optimally. 


In this article we walk you through the process of using our very popular Motive power brake bleeder to bleed the brakes on our subject Volkswagen GTI. The process is very simple and makes the job a one man service that ensures air isn't allowed into the system by maintaining pressure as you work from wheel to wheel.

 

Tools Needed To Bleed Your Brakes With Motive Power Bleeder

Before we begin, every Motive brake bleeder includes a set of instructions that tell you to do a visual inspection of the bleeder bottle and pump, as you want to make sure you are free of any debris or contaminants.

All looked clear and clean so we were good to go. We moved to the next step of installing the brake cap gasket into the cap and setting it as far back as we can. This ensures that we are getting a tight seal on the master cylinder we are working on.

Once we are good there, Motive recommends testing the bleeder and pressuring it mounted on the master cylinder to inspect for leaks, and ensure the unit is holding pressure.

First we mount the cap adapter with gasket on the master cylinder. Make sure it is mounted nice and tight.

Then we fasten the cap line to the bottle line and tighten the pump/cap on the bottle. Also make sure the cap/pump is tight on the bottle.

Then we can begin pumping and pressurizing the system. Motive recommends bringing the PSI up to about 15. I did slightly less and watched the gauge to make sure it did not bleed out. I also inspected the rubber lines in the brake system to spot for leaks (none detected).

Once satisfied that everything looks good, I slowly turned the pump/cap to remove it and slowly relieved the system of pressure. Then I filled the motive tank with 1 ½ bottles of Pentosin Dot4 fluid (our favorite OEM brake fluid). Always make sure to use manufacturer recommended brake fluid. After capping off the bottle and remounting it to the cap and line from the master cylinder, I re-pressurized the system and checked the lines and gauge for leaks (again about 15 PSI for this model is enough).

Then I went wheel to wheel removing the lug bolts, and protective caps and set them aside to gain access to the bleeder screws on the calipers.

I turned my attention to the right rear passenger side brake caliper, as you want to work on the wheel furthest from the master cylinder first. I mounted the brake fluid catch bottle line to the valve after setting my 11mm wrench in place on the bleeder screw.

I really like the motive catch bottles, and though not necessary for the job, they allow you to see the fluid flowing out and give you a clean way to catch it. Also they include the a metal wire tether that allows you to mount the bottle almost anywhere you want while you work.

With the system still pressurized and holding 15 psi, I can open the bleed valve and watch as the pressure at the bottle moves the fluid through the system and bleeds this side of the braking system.

After filling about a quarter of the way on the bottle I can tighten the brake line remove the bottle and reset my self on the drivers side rear wheel.

Before opening the valve here I go back to the pump and pressurize back up to 15 PSI and get ready for the next bleed valve.

Then I simply repeat the process on this wheel until I feel comfortable with the amount of fluid that was extracted. Also you can tell the fluid color change as new fresh fluid is introduced.

Again, once completed I checked the pressure level up front and re-pressurized to 15 psi as needed.

I could then work my way to the front calipers, starting with the front passenger side. The calipers here are larger and hold more fluid (and are also responsible for a larger percent of your braking “Power”) so expect more fluid to come from each front caliper.

Then I tightened the bleed screw and rechecked my bottle pressure so that I can wrap up on the front left caliper, closest to the master cylinder.

Once I’m satisfied with the extracted fluid from this end, I can close my bleeder screw, reinstall my screw caps on all four sides, and reinstall my wheels. Tighten to spec using a torque wrench.

I then removed the bottle and line from the master cylinder by gently relieving the pressure from the bottle by slowly unscrewing the cap.

You can see now that our master cylinder is filled with fresh fluid and is at the correct level. You may still have to add some fluid to the reservoir, but after pumping the brake pedal a few times we saw that we were good to go.

We only used about one bottle of fluid for this vehicle but I always fill the bottle to 1 ½ liters of fluid to ensure I never have to add more. We had about ½ a bottle of brake fluid left, so we did as you should when you have extra brake fluid laying around, we threw it away. It is recommended to never store brake fluid once the seal is broken and the bottle is opened as it will begin to degrade and become contaminated; resulting in lowered effectiveness.

All in all, a quick and easy job to complete yourself, and one I recommend doing often enough to ensure that there is always fresh fluid in the system.

If you have any questions about this repair or inquiries about the products used in this tutorial, contact our service department, or leave them in the comments section below. 

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Written by :
Michael Rivera

Mike is a former ASE Certified Technician and has over 10 years experience working on various European makes and models. This FCP veteran has been with us for almost 8 years and has worked very closely with our customers helping with technical advise and service. Mike is our Audi & VW catalog manager and is heading up the build out and restructuring the Audi & VW segments of the FCP Catalog. He can be reached at mike@fcpeuro.com


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